12 Businesses You Can Start in Paris for €10,000 or Less

Starting a business can be intimidating, especially in a new country. You might struggle to find the right idea or to find the finances to get a business running successfully. A good idea for those new to the idea of starting a business is to start with a low-risk venture.

 Thus, this list of businesses you can start for “€10,000” or less will be a useful tool for expats looking to start a business with low risk and little initial investment.

  1. Lawn care specialist

Initial investment: €1,000 to €3,000

Expected earnings: €2,000 to €5,000 per month

You can get into lawn care with little more than a lawnmower and a good work ethic. Even if you don’t have your own lawnmower, you can start a lawn care business by either using your clients’ equipment or renting equipment until you can purchase your own.

Finding clients in need of lawn care in a city environment may prove challenging, so getting to know your area to see if lawn care services are in demand is an important step. You can do this by looking at similar businesses in the area and how successful they are. This will give you an idea of the demand for lawn care services. 

  1. Bookkeeper

Initial investment: €1,000

Expected earnings: €3,000 to €4,000 per month

Starting a bookkeeping business doesn’t require an accounting or business degree, but taking some classes in those areas may prove useful. Today, sites like Udemy and Skillshare offer a variety of accounting and software classes for common bookkeeping programs like QuickBooks. These classes can be taken online from any location.

Katherine Pomerantz, founder of the website The Bookkeeping Artist, learned the ropes via online courses. Next, she spent $1,000 to get her Enrolled Agent certification through the IRS.

Pomerantz spent $400 on liability insurance, $50 for a business license and $300 on her website. After she signed her third client, she became profitable — and still continues to invest in her business growth, according to Pomerantz.

  1. Real estate agent

Initial investment: €1,000

Expected earnings: €2,000 to €10,000 per month

In France, a real estate license is required, and certain types of licenses require various levels of education. In general, becoming a real estate agent in France can take a fair amount of training, so this may be one of the more challenging paths. Additionally, you should be familiar with the area before becoming an agent.

  1. Freelance writer

Initial investment: €100

Expected earnings: €2,000 to €3,000 per month

Contrary to the last business idea, becoming a freelance writer is one of the easier paths to starting a business. You only need a computer and an internet connection, which you may already have. Additionally, you should know how to write well, be professional, meet deadlines, and follow editors’ specifications. 

Plenty of classes to help you improve your writing are available online. Additionally, you can find courses to help you communicate better with clients in French or English and expand your client base.

Also, consider creating your own portfolio website through a free service like WordPress, to showcase your work and better attract clients. At the very least, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date.

One of the main benefits of this business choice is the option to do all your work and training remotely. 

  1. Retail arbitrageur

Initial investment: €2,500

Expected earnings: €1,000 to €2,000 per month

Retail arbitrage involves buying products or services on the cheap and reselling them at a profit. Platforms like Amazon or Expats Paris make it easy to open an account and start selling with very little money and inventory.

Serial entrepreneur and eight-figure Amazon vendor Andrew Tjernlund started a ping-pong paddle company with $3,000. He used his initial investment to purchase the paddles for $1 each, then sold them on Amazon and eBay — and earned six figures in the first three years.

  1. Blogger

Initial investment: €300

Expected earnings: €1,000 to €2,000 per month

Starting a blog is relatively inexpensive and no specific certification is needed. You can blog on free platforms like Blogger or spend $100 to $300 a year on web hosting services. Bloggers typically earn money by selling products or services related to a niche market or hosting ads on their site. You might find that your experience as an expat in Paris or similar experiences is an interesting topic to blog about. Other topics, such as hobbies or specific skills, are also common blog topics. 

Caroline Vencil started blogging and paid about $4 a month for web hosting — and she didn’t make more than a few cents a month initially. Vencil took a popular blogging course — Elite Blog Academy — for about $500 and began to earn more than $1,500 per month just four months after the class.

Vencil now earns $7,000 to $8,000 per month from her blog. Her blog, “Caroline Vencil — Live Fully, Budget Fiercely,” features articles on frugal living, recipes, making money and finding deals.

  1. Photographer or videographer

Initial investment: €4,000

Expected earnings: €3,000 to €5,000 per month

Starting a photography or videography business requires experience with high-end imaging. And the internet is a great resource for courses and information on visual arts.

Slavik Boyechko, owner of the website Gear Dads, is a videographer who maintains a thriving business by selling videography equipment to professionals. You don’t have to start out with a huge investment, according to Boyechko. “You can rent equipment for shoots, so really all you need is a good computer for editing at home, ” said Boyechko.

Income depends largely on a number of factors, according to Boyechko. “Income is determined by how much you decide to charge, how much demand there is for your services and how much hustle you have in you,” he said.

Do you live in Paris (the most beautiful and instagrammable place on planet earth)?

Get your photography business skills listed on Expats Paris.

  1. Virtual assistant

Initial investment: €200

Expected earnings: €3,000 to €5,000 per month

As online businesses continue to grow, the need for virtual assistants grows as well. If you are talented at communicating with clients, answering emails in a timely manner, and making travel arrangements, this choice might be for you. Additionally, some virtual assistants specialize in social media or data scraping. 

Gina Horkey, owner of Horkey HandBook — a site designed to help people start and grow their own freelance businesses — started off as a freelance writer and later added VA services.

Horkey estimates her initial costs were around $200. Eventually, she became so successful that she started a VA referral service and training program.

  1. Info product salesman

Initial investment: €30

Expected earnings: €2,000 to €3,000 per month

Most info products come in the form of e-books or e-courses. The more specific your area of expertise, the better: From horse grooming to Pinterest marketing to urban farming and tiny house living, you’ll find niches with marketable content.

You can create a document to sell or package video content on platforms like Vimeo, YouTube, Teachable or Udemy. Some of these platforms are free and others require a monthly subscription to host your videos.

Michelle Schroeder, owner of the personal finance blog Making Cents of Sense, offers an e-course on internet affiliate marketing. Since she launched it in July 2016, Schroeder’s info product has earned her $400,000 in revenues.

  1. Dog walker and sitter

Initial investment: €600

Expected earnings: €1,500 to €3,500 per month

Pet sitting is a low-cost venture where you can start small and scale as your customer base grows — and you can get clients by marketing your services via flyers, email or social media. Or, use a website like Rover to connect with clients for free.

You won’t need certification to get started, but it’s a good idea to have references and get a background check done. You might also want to opt for pet-sitting insurance.

Crystal Stemberger of Crystal’s Cozy Care in Spring, Texas, takes care of all types of pets and her business has grown so much she needs three to four extra helpers to cover the demand. She started with a $600 investment and almost a year later headed up a $30,000 business.

  1. Personal trainer

Initial investment: €4,000

Expected earnings: €2,500 to €6,500 per month

Becoming a personal trainer is a good way to help people reach their fitness goals. You won’t find a hard and fast rule regarding what kind of certification you should get or even if you need any. That said, it’s generally recognized as a best practice to obtain some sort of certification to start working with clients in a gym.

Fitness training certification can come in as low as $400 and go up to a few thousand dollars. In addition to certification, you’ll need to pay for a website — or use a free Instagram account. Many personal trainers provide coaching services online and sell customized exercise and eating plans for additional revenue.

A person should budget $700 to $2,000 for initial certifications, $600 for a web presence and another $1,600 for liability insurance each year, said John Romanelli, physical trainer and founder of the fitness website No Bad Reps. It’s perfectly feasible to clear at least $6,000 per month in revenues with this type of business, according to Romanelli.

Romanelli is a fan of the free — but efficient — nature of social media. “It costs you nothing in terms of monetary value and it will allow you to get exposure outside of your sphere of influence. When used correctly, it can be a highly effective strategy at a minimal cost,” said Romanelli.

  1. Estate sale manager

Initial investment: €400

Expected earnings: €2,000 to €4,000 per month

Estate sale managers are typically hired by the relatives of someone who died to liquidate the person’s belongings and settle the estate affairs. Estate sale managers usually take a commission ranging from 20 percent to 50 percent of everything they sell.

Startup costs to become an estate sale manager are minimal: All you need is marketing, some helpers, and liability insurance. You can create a website or place local ads to alert people about your services and sale events. If you’re strapped for cash, you can post free ads on Facebook.

Robert Farrington of The College Investor in the United States, a personal finance and investing blog for millennials, has run an estate sale management company since 2007. He netted $50,000 in one of his best years and although it can take up a lot of time, Farrington recommends it as a good side hustle.

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